How to Light Your Home in Winter - 3 Tools to Make Your Space More Hygge

Although it is only early November, the days already seem to be shortening at a rapid pace. All across Canada, we are facing a gradual decrease in natural light, due to both shorter possible daylight hours and the gloomy, overcast weather that often comes with autumn. We always know it is coming, yet somehow always catches us off guard! This is why Canadians need to consider how to light their homes. Especially to create the ideal Hygge atmosphere, there are several tips and tricks for how you can fill your home with a warm glow during the dark months.

The shortest day of the year is the Winter Solstice, on December 21. However, most of us are already feeling the effects of the loss of light. This means it will only get worse as we get closer and closer to the Solstice. For most Canadian cities, there is under 9 hours between sunrise and sunset - this is the equivalent of the sun rising at 8 and setting at 6. In our Northern cities, this can drop drastically. Iqaluit experiences only 4 hours and 20 minutes between sunrise and sunset on this day! This combined with the colder weather will drive most of us into the comfort of our homes. Strategic lighting in your home can help you create a comforting, cozy, and warm atmosphere for our partial winter hibernation.

Lighting and candles can also be decorative elements, and placed to help frame things - like books! But not too close to the candles, of course.

Light is something we take for granted in the developed world. It is one of those things we don’t think about much, until we don’t have access to it. The ability to flip a switch and illuminate the immediate space around you has had some interesting effects on the world. A recent podcast by Planet Money (titled “The History of Light”)  brilliantly discussed the economics of light, and how the gradual discovery of cheap light has changed the world. Today, we have the ability not just to have easy, cheap access to light, but we have choices as to how we light a room. As mentioned in “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking, light can be used to create the Hygge atmosphere most of us crave for providing comfort during the winter months.

There are three main components to Hygge-lich lighting:

  1. Warm light bulbs

  2. Light-diffusing lamps

  3. Fire

In your home, lighting can create the feeling in a room, and there are two sources of light: electric and fire-based. Electric lighting is surrounding us, in all of our rooms. The warmth of a lightbulb can greatly affect how a room feels, as well as the location of the light source. Having multiple, smaller sources of light help create a more subdued, glow-like effect that can be very calming.

The 3 types of lightbulbs we can buy: incandescent, fluorescent, and LED. Light bulb temperature is measured by Kelvins (K). The lower the K value, the warmer the light, with fluorescent bulbs can be up to 5000K, and a flame producing closer to 1500K.

Softer yellow light is often far more calming than the harsh blue light from fluorescent bulbs. Thankfully, the advances in light bulb technology has produced LED lights that can create this soft glow, while also consuming less energy. For those who are energy conscious, this is a wonderful change from the compact fluorescents that were commonly used in the last 15 years, replacing incandescent light bulbs. Using coloured pendants and tinted ceiling light covers can help soften your lightbulb light, and disperse the light in the room. Stringed lights are great to create a dispersed light source, and also now come in energy-saving LED varieties. Lastly, the use of lamps with warm lamp shades can help create the mood of a room, with light coming from a specific direction in the room, rather than shining overhead. The use and strategic placement of lamps are important for those who live in older houses, where overhead lights are not wired into the home.

 Our small lamp on top of the records shelf helps reflect light against the ceiling, creating a glow in the room. The use of a yellow-tinted shade helps diffuse warmer light into the room. And lights up a super cool picture of my Dad during his wedding day in the 80’s! That perm!

Our small lamp on top of the records shelf helps reflect light against the ceiling, creating a glow in the room. The use of a yellow-tinted shade helps diffuse warmer light into the room. And lights up a super cool picture of my Dad during his wedding day in the 80’s! That perm!

Verdun candle votives generate a beautiful, starry pattern when lit from inside, but are also a stylish, gold accent for every day.

Lastly, we can enjoy the glow that comes from fire, in the form of candles, and a fireplace if your home has it, and it’s cold enough to justify it. Candles have the added benefit of creating a sense of calm and comfort, and votives can add an accent colour and create mesmerizing shapes of light. There is something about fire that intrinsically draws humans to it, perhaps because it remains such an important tool in our world. While scented candles may be all the rage at the moment, use plain, unscented candles when you want to have more than 1 candle at a time. If you love scented candles, supplement your collection with unscented ones, and pick 1 scented candle to burn at a time - this prevents an overwhelming and confusing scent in your room while maintaining that calming glow from multiple spots.

Light is so important to us, now that many of us work indoors, and with the seasonally shorter days. Play around with where you place lamps and candles to achieve the best light dispersion in your space. And when you feel like you haven’t seen the sun in weeks, don’t let it get you down, just cozy up at home, and create your glowy, Hygge-filled, happy space.

At the end of the day, there’s really nothing like a lit fireplace on a cold night.

What is Verdun? The Art of Canadian Hygge

Hello! Bonjour!

As I write this, I am cozy in my bed, sipping my morning coffee and watching the sun rising and lighting up the tree tops outside the window. While I had been meaning to write this (first ever!) blog post for Verdun for some time now, I realized that this quiet moment I was holding for myself was exactly the right inspiration I had been looking for. And so here I am, working in bed (a no-no to many people, I’m sure), writing what Canadian Hygge, the Art of Verdun, means to me. I hope it can resonate with you too, fellow Canadian, as we enter the season our great country is perhaps best known for - Winter.

 Oh Google…how you miss the nuances in this word!

Oh Google…how you miss the nuances in this word!

If you have made your way to this page, it is likely out of a curiosity, or a wondering - What is Canadian Hygge? What is Verdun? If you google Hygge (pronounced “heu-gah”), you will likely first see a big ‘ol google definition of the danish word hygge translated in english to “fun”.

I am here to tell you, cliched or not, that Hygge is so much more. While the word itself is in fact Danish, “fun” is most definitely not how I would describe Hygge, or Verdun. To us at Verdun, Hygge is a way of life. And it is a lifestyle rooted not just in Denmark, but we Canadians have our own version, interpretation, and manifestation of the same concept - but once again, the English language lacks a word to fully describe it for us!

Canadian Hygge, or as we say, the Art of Verdun, is what we call that warm, cozy, comfortable feeling you get inside you when you are in a space that creates the feeling of safety, warmth, and happiness. There are many aspects of what creates this environment. And it is highly personalized to each individual, as the things that make us comfortable and happy differ from person to person. While there are core aspects of a Verdun home - warm, diffused lighting, candles, soft blankets and pillows, curated accent pieces that bring a smile to the face when you see them, coffee and tea (and I mean LOTS of coffee and tea!!) - each cozy home is different. We all find the comfort we need at home to survive the Canadian winters.

Cozy layers and a big squishy touque make the outdoors available all year round.

Contrary to the above paragraph, we think that a unique aspect of Canadian Hygge is that it easily extends to the outdoors. Our country experiences one of the most beautiful changing of the seasons in the autumn, as our trees and bushes change to an amazing spectrum of sunset hues. There is a certain coziness to our fall season, as sweaters and knits reappear to the front of the closet, thick socks and tall boots keep our toes warm, spicy seasonal drinks keep our bellies happy (not exclusive to the infamous pumpkin spice craze), and fuzzy knit accessories protect our fingers and ears from the changing of the elements. This re-introduction to bundling up in the fall and winter are an aspect of Canadian Hygge, one which also allows us to express our own personal style to the outdoor world.

Netflix and knitting… a not-so-surprising hygge combo at Verdun HQ!

Verdun also believes that Canadian Hygge comes from shared experiences, with friends, family, and loved ones. Favourite pastimes the team at Verdun partake in is not limited to Netflix binges, multi-hour long board game sessions, and enjoying a home-cooked meal together at a dining table. These are moments we spend together in good conversation, laughter, and some playful teasing (and lots and lots of puns!! This is an unofficial sport among our group). These memories and moments help create the atmosphere of a space, as it becomes associated with those good feelings of time well spent together.

The Art of Verdun, the lifestyle of Canadian Hygge, is all curated and created in a home that is well lived in. Well used. Well decorated with meaningful accents, lighting, and textiles. A Verdun home is one that is made over time. With purposefully sourced products, Verdun can help you create the space that will remain in your memories for a lifetime, a space that you can retreat to for satisfaction and comfort (whether alone or with friends), and a space that will provide you with the peace and happiness you deserve.

Curate your Verdun home, one filled with Canadian Hygge.

Lindsay CatoComment